Law School Discussion

Specific Groups => Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students => Topic started by: NavyNYC on January 14, 2015, 02:52:55 PM

Title: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
Post by: NavyNYC on January 14, 2015, 02:52:55 PM
So I have been in the Navy for just over 4 years as a Surface Warfare Officer and I am looking into applying to JD or MBA programs next fall and matriculating fall '16. I was unable to join the Navy after college because of an injury so I worked at IBM for three years before being commissioned as a Naval Officer through Navy Officer Candidate School. I have had multiple leadership experiences, graduated from a top 10 university (non-Ivy) with a 3.3 GPA while playing a college sport, and have been scoring in the mid 160s on my practice LSATs. Due to the GI Bill and other funding, I most likely won't have to pay anything out of pocket for either a law degree or MBA.

My question is, if you could receive one degree for free, which is worth getting more?

I have always considered pursuing a law degree, but I'm not entirely sure if I would want to go into corporate law or possibly pursue management consulting in the defense space. Business school would obviously be the less stressful route but I think a law degree offers a lot more career flexibility and since my tuition would be funded I wouldn't have to worry about drowning in debt. I would also be 30 while applying and 31 at the time of matriculation so I'm not sure if being older will hurt me during the admissions process. I think my older age would actually suit me well for a law degree because I would have fewer distractions at my age and the long stressful hours are something I'm accustomed to from my time serving.

I'd really appreciate some feedback here and any advice on what schools would be competitive for a 30 year old veteran with a sub par GPA and decent LSAT.

Also if anyone has any experience with the JAG LEP program I'd love to hear it. Thanks.
 
Title: Re: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
Post by: doctorlaw on January 14, 2015, 06:08:34 PM
 Being an officer with 3, I'd guess you are at least 52? older?
Do you want to re-enlist? If so don't fully retire, stay in the national guard while in school to make it easier to reup after law school if your goal is JAG.
If you want an MBA you can get that online while still active duty.

If you really want to retire, are you planning to work at all? (second career like?) The JD could let you do a 2nd pension as a prosecutor or other civil servant job and get a cush retirement when you hit around 65.

If you are on the older end and retiring due to age, I'd say neither. If you are just looking to burn up the GIBill for a hobby (no shame in that, you earned it and its worth using) I'd just pick some community college golfing classes or something.

It all depends on a combo of your age and your goals.

Also factor in that any decent MBA requires GMAT/GRE. What are your practice scores in those?
Title: Re: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
Post by: NavyNYC on January 14, 2015, 07:10:58 PM
No I would be 30 years old, not a 30 year veteran. I would have to be in the reserves while going through my graduate education which I would want to do regardless. Definitely not burning up the GI Bill as a hobby. I have family reasons that require me to be back home in NY so since I fulfilled my initial 4 year commitment that is why I am considering a JD program at Columbia, NYU, or Fordham or a NY area business school.
Title: Re: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
Post by: doctorlaw on January 14, 2015, 07:59:34 PM
No I would be 30 years old, not a 30 year veteran. I would have to be in the reserves while going through my graduate education which I would want to do regardless. Definitely not burning up the GI Bill as a hobby. I have family reasons that require me to be back home in NY so since I fulfilled my initial 4 year commitment that is why I am considering a JD program at Columbia, NYU, or Fordham or a NY area business school.

I reread and saw the 4 years part. I should have seen that the first time.
Why do you say "retiring" then? Just curious since that is what through me off to begin with.
If you honestly want to do both, go for a joint degree. I don't know what each campus offers, but most places offer joint JD/MBA combos nowdays.
If you want to be in that area but stay active, have you looked into full time reserve jobs? They also have Coast Guard jobs in that area. I think they let you keep your paygrade (albeit a different name for it). That way you could do the MBA online while getting closer to pension.

http://dmna.ny.gov/jobs/?id=agr

You can do your reserve requirement in the NG too, even if its AirGuard FYI (I knew guys who did)
Title: Re: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
Post by: NavyNYC on January 15, 2015, 08:54:46 AM
I meant to say leaving active duty and transitioning into the reserve but mentally it feels like retirement from active duty. The idea of pursuing a JD/MBA has crossed my mind but that would ultimately cost more money since it wouldn't be entirely covered and it would also be very difficult to manage in addition to family life and my time commitment in the Navy Reserves.
Title: Re: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
Post by: Citylaw on January 15, 2015, 09:54:45 AM
To sum it up I think a J.D. is the better degree, because you cannot be a lawyer without a law degree, but you can be a businessman without an M.B.A.

There are also many schools that offer joint J.D./M.B.A. programs and most schools will give you a huge discount on the M.B.A. if you are in the J.D. program.

Also with your background and a 3.3. and assuming you get a 160+ on the LSAT there will be a number of law schools that would offer you substantial scholarship money and if that is the case use the G.I. Bill for the M.B.A.

Essentially, if you have an interest in both there is no reason to not pursue both there is a lot of overlap between them and you can typically finish a J.D./M.B.A in four years. However, if you have to choose one do the J.D., because you CANNOT be a lawyer without a law license, and to get a law license you need a J.D. (I know there are a few crazy exceptions to this, but they are unlikely to apply.) 

Additionally, this is a great article that points some great points about how to choose a law school. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html

Title: Re: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on January 15, 2015, 10:36:40 AM
I would only advise you to spend some serious time researching what each career path actually entails. You're trying to decide between two very different academic programs, which will result in very different careers. Think bout what your long term goals are and what you want out of life and a career.

Practicing law and working in business management are each going to result in different stresses, challenges, and rewards. Look into the job market for each, be realistic, and let your goals steer you.

As far as where to go, without an LSAT score everything is speculative. Places like NYU and Columbia are probably out with a 3.3 GPA unless you score off the charts on the LSAT. Assuming however, that you score similar to your practice scores NY-area schools like Fordham, St. John's, Yeshiva, Seton Hall, and plenty of others would be within reach.

Honestly though, just focus on the LSAT right now. It is such a huge factor that until you have an actual score on the board there isn't much point in focusing on specific schools. Your life experience and military service are good "soft factors", but the LSAT and GPA will dominate the admissions process.
Title: Re: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
Post by: doctorlaw on January 15, 2015, 10:45:11 AM
I meant to say leaving active duty and transitioning into the reserve but mentally it feels like retirement from active duty. The idea of pursuing a JD/MBA has crossed my mind but that would ultimately cost more money since it wouldn't be entirely covered and it would also be very difficult to manage in addition to family life and my time commitment in the Navy Reserves.
You have to weigh that all in. I knew guys in the reserves in law school. Odds are on of your AT's will land during finals. It can get tricky.

I'm going to be BRUTALLY honest here about family stuff. Is anyone dieing? What's the issue with family?
I ask since VIRTUALLY ALL of the people who have issues at home FAIL law school.(especially if you are trying to go full time) It is a much larger commitment than most factor in. I'd resolve the issues at home first before enrolling. If that can't be done, don't do the JD. Just get a full time job to pay bills and get the MBA online. They also offer MSL degrees on line and CJ/paralegal masters online too if any of that interests you.